How does a Wife Reverence her Husband?
I will never forget the day I was exposed to some amazing teaching about the power of a wife’s reverence towards her husband. I had decided to take a bath to unwind after a long day. As I was relaxing, I was listening to a sermon by S.M. Davis (one of my favorite preachers) entitled, “How a Wife can use Reverence to Honor her Husband.” At this point in my marriage, I was already convicted of the importance of respecting Rob. In fact, by God’s grace, I was making progress in this area. Yet, as I sat in the bath, the weight of the conviction of the Holy Spirit became so heavy that I was no longer unwinding, but weeping. I repented and asked God to give me a new vision for fulfilling this role God had given me.
One of the best ways I can show reverence to Rob is by freely praising him. When we were first married, I am ashamed to say that I tended to be critical of him. When he would preach to the youth group, he would often feel charged and energized after his sermon was over. He would receive several complements from students and adults. While I was very proud of him and always thought that he did a great job, I felt that I had to offer tips to “fine tune” his preaching. During the car ride home, he was often greeted with a token “great job” and then a list of my critiques. Sadly, I could see the energy deflate out of him like a balloon. This was not what I was intending, but this was the result of my critical remarks. Unfortunately, this happened on one too many occasions. Rob gently told me that my praises meant more to him than all the accolades of others. He told me that if he had my praises, he could handle the criticism of others. But if he did not sense my approval, than the praises of others were rather empty.
Your husband needs to know that you admire him. It is good to praise him both privately and publicly. When we praise our husbands publicly we magnify the power of our words. A humble man will not sing his own praises, nor should he. As I remind my children, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth.” (Proverbs 27:2 – NIV). But men love to be praised by their wives in front of other men. God has designed your husband’s heart to respond to your reverence. The more you praise him, the less likely he will be to seek affirmation elsewhere.
Conversely, if we criticize our husbands publicly (whether he is around to hear it or not) we are dealing our husbands a severe blow. I am reminded of a time when I was at a meeting at church with a mixed group of people including an older married couple. During the meeting, the husband asked a question that may have seemed obvious to others but apparently was not to him. Before the leader could respond to the question, his wife answered him in a way that clearly expressed her belief in the absurdity of his question. I instantly sunk back in my chair as I watched the look of embarrassment and shame come across his face. It is one thing to say something that may be embarrassing in front of a group, but it is quite another to have your wife be the one who mocks you.
Another way I seek to show reverence to Rob is by expressing gratitude for him and the things he does. Many generation X women like myself may find themselves struggling here. We were raised in a culture which taught us that men and women can and should do all the same things. When both spouses are contributing to the family finances and tackling daily household chores, wives may be less likely to say “thank you.” If you do not expect to be thanked when you do the dishes, why should you thank your husband when he does them? In fact, we expect him to carry his fair share of the work. Yet our husbands need to know that we appreciate them. By thanking your husband frequently you are showing reverence to him.
Finally, one of the most meaningful ways I seek to reverence Rob is by forgiving him easily. Forgiveness is hard in marriage. Why can it be easier to forgive a co-worker than it is to forgive your own husband? First of all, in a marriage you have to learn to forgive the same offenses time and time again. Secondly, your husband has the most potential to hurt you because he is the closest to you. I had a horrible habit in my marriage that I still fight against now. When I felt really hurt by Rob I would “put him in the doghouse” (those are Rob’s words and not mine). This meant that instead of forgiving the hurt quickly, I would punish him by withdrawing from the relationship for a time period. I rationalized that I needed my space, but really, I I was slow to forgive. This hurt him. I praise God for His grace which has enabled me to repent of my attitude as I now seek to practice forgiving him quickly.
These are just some of the ways that I am trying to reverence my husband and therefore to obey the Ephesians 5:33 command. I encourage you to pray and ask God to give you a specific plan for how you can show more reverence and respect to your husband.